Last day in the desert

J. made it to Phoenix in the wee hours of the morning, but getting into the house proved to be an adventure. The door that was supposed to be left unlocked got locked by some little fingers unbeknownst to any of the adults. Thus, when J. got to the house, after putting in the pass code for the garage, he still couldn't get into the house. He then tried messaging various children, but they were dutifully asleep and not staring at their personal devices. (Good children.) He eventually had to wake me up by tapping on the window of the bedroom I was in. I did have a moment of being startled, but eventually figure out who it was and let him in.

Aside from doing exciting things such as laundry and packing and having the whole bottom of the trailer rebuilt, we all went to have a picnic in Papago Park. Amazingly, on a beautiful Saturday, our favorite ramada was free and we had our picnic. One of the things we particularly like about this ramada is the small stream that runs around it. Everyone rushed over to look at it.

We called everyone back and had our lunch...

followed by some hiking around. The sky was cooperative on our last day and was exceedingly blue.


R., who was not exactly sure that hiking around was what she wanted to be doing.

Now it wouldn't be a blog post about being in my native Arizona without giving you a little botany lesson. (If you live or grew up here, you can just scroll ahead.) The Phoenix area lies in the Sonoran Desert. It is this particular desert where the saguaro cactus is found. It is the only place saguaros are found, in fact. (And that is pronounced, sah - war - ro, by the way.) Saguaros grow exceedingly slowly and are very long lived. They don't even begin to grow arms until the plant is 75 to 80 years old. This saguaro is probably well over one hundred years old.

Not only are they pretty cool looking plants, but they provide homes for many desert animals. Woodpeckers make the holes found in the cactus, and when they move out, owls and other small birds move in. A really excellent book about the life cycle of the saguaro cactus is Cactus Hotel by Brenda Guiberson.

We are here just in time to see many desert plants bloom, including the saguaros. The saguaro blossom is also the state flower of Arizona.

It's amazing how some of these old cactus keep going.

And now back to our outing. It is always so much fun to watch my children play in a place I loved playing as a child. This particular afternoon, they were having fun pulling the green scum off the water. I'm pretty sure they would have played for hours had we had time to let them.

We also played a game of Pooh sticks on the little bridge. When I was little, I loved coming here and having a chance to play a game requiring moving water and the girls were just as entranced.

Before we headed back to my mom's, we stopped for a quick trip up to Hole in the Rock.

Here is J. helping R. We are currently at a stage with this child where anything we want her to do is exactly the thing she does not want to do. Hiking in the desert was most certainly not on her list, but she did make it up.

H. made it up easily and Y. had a piggyback ride for part of the way.


G. and H.

L. and Y. (who was pretty proud of herself for climbing around on her own.)

G., K., and H.

Yes, this is a view from the hole, but if you look closely, you will see TM and P. out there sitting on the edge. P. actually went down the face, while the rest of climbed the stairs on the other side.

G., D., Y., J., and H.

So now we are finishing up the packing, the children are watching one last movie on Grammy's giant TV, and we will be heading out very early in the morning. We are hoping to get to Amarillo by a decent time tomorrow.

It's been a good visit. I hate to leave. It's too bad that we aren't independently wealthy and can just travel and stay where we like as long as we like. But the good news is that my mom will be out in a couple of weeks to see D. perform in The Music Man.
I'm on vacation, but I still have articles being published. Please feel free to click and share. Why the Decline in International Adoptions


Carla said…
My mother-in-law has the book, Cactus Hotel, and my 4 year old son absolutely adores it. I happened to read this post and was stopped on the first picture of the cactus when I had to leave my laptop for a moment. All of a sudden I hear, "It's a cactus!" I read him your "botany lesson" and he had me read it 4 times over. Living in Michigan doesn't provide us much opportunity to see cactus outside of a flower pot. We loved your pictures and description that put an enjoyable book into "real life".

Thank you!

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